1999 Trophée Lalique
Pairs free program

The pairs' competition was not bad, but certainly not the best I've seen!! There was no doubt that Abitbol & Bernadis were the best, but there were other beautiful programs to be seen.

First to go were Katarina Rybkowski & Rico Rex from Germany.They skated to The Man in the Iron Mask (not the same selections as Marina & Gwendal!) and wore ugly orange and yellow costumes that didn't really suit the feel of the music. They started with a double twist, then side by side triple salchows followed by double toes. They did a good throw triple salchow but overrotated the throw triple loop. They tried a side by side triple toe loop but she doubled it. Overall it was not bad- for a beginning.;-) Their marks (I didn't write down the judges' nationalities, sorry!):

Technical merit

4.7

4.7

4.7

4.7

4.8

4.7

4.8

Artistic impression

4.8

4.7

4.8

4.8

4.9

4.7

4.7

Marina Khalturina & Valerly Artyuchov from Kazakstan were next, wearing blue costumes and skating to classical music that I couldn't recognize. Their speed across the ice was great compared to the Germans. They did a triple twist that was a little wobbly, then a side-by-side triple salchow but he put his hand down. She landed a good throw triple loop. They did a lift that looked like a Kazakova & Dmitriev lift which I think is called "the kiss" - the lady is perpendicular to the ice, her legs up and her head close from her partner's head (does that make sense?!). Their side-by-side double axels were kind of overrotated but they hid it with a double toe right after. They did a throw triple salchow and then the side-by-side double axels again but one of them (can't remember who) fell. They were running out of speed at the end and seemed tired. The program was not that interesting.Their marks:

Technical merit

4.8

4.8

4.8

4.9

5.2

5.1

4.9

Artistic impression

4.7

5.0

4.9

4.6

5.1

5.0

4.9

Valerie Saurette & Jean-Sebastien Fecteau from Canada were amazing. I really loved the program. She was absolutely beautiful (her hair is shorter now) wearing an elegant blue dress that really suited her. They were skating to classical piano music that has already been used by another skater but I can't put my finger on it. The program was quite romantic, but beautiful. Technically they landed the triple wist, then did side-by-side double toes (I guess it should have been a triple) followed by other double toes. The throw double axel was high but she landed it on two feet. They did good side-by-side double axels, and then a throw triple salchow out of nowhere!! They did some good lifts. Again I liked the program a lot, so did the people around me. In my opinion their presentation marks should have been higher.

Technical merit

4.9

5.0

4.9

5.1

4.9

5.0

4.9

Artistic impression

5.1

5.3

5.2

5.2

5.1

5.2

5.3

The Americans Tiffany Scott & Philip Dulebohn skated well, wearing sparkling white and gold costumes - although she had very loose briefs... They skated to classical music that sounded Arabian from time to time. They started with side-by-side triple toes but she overrotated it, then a triple twist. They did a great lift where she bends her knees. Their two throw jumps (double axel and triple salchow) were good. They ended with side-by-side double flip and toe loop. Tiffany seemed very glad at the end! She had a beaming smile and that was great to see.:-) I didn't enjoy the program as much as I did for Saurette & Fecteau, but it was good. The judges liked it:

Technical merit

5.3

5.3

5.2

5.2

5.4

5.1

5.2

Artistic impression

5.4

5.2

5.3

5.3

5.5

5.4

5.3

Yulia Obertas & Dimitry Palamarchuk from Ukraine were next. They wore blue pastel costumes (I think) and skated to familiar classical music. She really looks like a little doll.:-) They started with side-by-side triple toe loops but she overrotated it. The throw double axel was awesome. They did side-by-side double axels but she overrotated it again and he put his hand down. Then they did a double twist, throw triple salchow good, side-by-side double loops followed by double toe loops. All the lifts looked like each other, and I don't particularly like the way she holds the position because she seems so stiff, and really too straight. Another thing that bothered me was that they make so much noise with their skates. The program was not really interesting, but she has grace and presence on the ice, and she's beautiful to watch - except on the lifts.;-)

Technical merit

5.2

5.2

5.1

5.4

5.2

4.9

5.1

Artistic impression

5.3

5.2

5.2

5.2

5.2

4.6

5.1

The Canadians Kristy Sargeant & Kris Wirtz were skating to piano classical music and wearing green costumes. They did a triple twist, then side-by-side triple toe loops but she did a double. They did two good throw jumps (salchow and axel) and side-by-side double axels followed by double toe loops. Good program, with some beautiful parts, but I don't think that's the kind of music that suits them. I much prefered their free from last year. She was not happy at all at the end, don't know why because the program wasn't that bad. Looking at her face you could imagine that they had had a disastrous performance - but they didn't, and their marks were quite good, the best so far, especially for presentation.

Technical merit

5.2

5.3

5.2

5.4

5.4

5.3

5.3

Artistic impression

5.5

5.4

5.5

5.4

5.6

5.5

5.6

Sarah Abitbol & Stephane Bernadis were fabulous. I have to say I hate Sarah's costume, in my opinion it is awful and it doesn't suit her well at all. At the beginning I didn't really see the "angel/devil" theme. I guess that's because there was lots of technical content. They started with side-by-side triple toe loops and then double axels followed by double toe loops. The triple twist was a little wobbly. The music was more and more powerful. I don't know how to describe it- it has vocals and it is very, very intense and dramatic. It is hauting! I loved it, and they interpreted it so well- I have to say they interpreted the music better than the angel/devil theme. They did a great throw double axel and a throw triple loop that was leaning forward a little bit. By the end of the program the angel/devil theme was more obvious and Stephane does it so well. I have to say he is funny sometimes, but it's great.:-) I really, really liked the program. It is so powerful. And trust me, I'm not biased there.:-) I've never been a true A&B fan. I didn't like their free program at all last year. But this one is awesome. I don't know how it will be on TV (of course French TV didn't show anything from the pairs' and ladies' event...), but watching it in person is great. I was thrilled!! The crowd was excited. The judges liked it too! I can't remember whether Sarah & Stephane already had 5.9s for presentation at an international event - I think that's the first time.

Technical merit

5.6

5.6

5.7

5.6

5.8

5.5

5.6

Artistic impression

5.8

5.9

5.8

5.8

5.8

5.7

5.9

Dorota Zagorska & Mariusz Siudek were next. Well, I'm not a fan of their skating at all, and skating after Abitbol & Bernadis didn't help them. That was my first time seeing them in person, and I have to say they looked a lot better than on TV - I don't know if it's because they have improved or if it is just seeing them in person that made me feel like this. Dorota looked a lot more elegant. I've always disliked the way she holds her shoulders, but there it looked better. They skated the same program as last year, to Symphony of the New World , and they wore black costumes. They did throw double axel, side-by-side triple toe loops a litlle wobbly, triple twist good. Then they did side-by-side double axels but she only did a single, followed by double toe loops, then side-by-side double toe loops again and throw triple salchow. Not bad, but they didn't look glad. The speaker announced "marks for Abitbol & Bernadis" which was very funny.:-)

Technical merit

5.5

5.4

5.6

5.5

5.6

5.4

5.7

Artistic impression

5.6

5.6

5.7

5.5

5.4

5.4

5.6

I was really impressed by Tatiana Totmianina & Maksim Marinin. They were elegant, sober. She had a red dress and he had a black costume. They skated to Rachmaninov music (some parts were the same as Miskhutenok & Dmitriev at the 94 Olympics). They landed two side-by-side triple jumps (salchow and toe loop followed by double toe), which is very difficult. Technically they are brilliant: they did a triple twist, throw triple loop and throw triple salchow. The coreography was beautiful too. Some parts reminded me of Kazakova & Dmitriev's Haendel program -the part after the throw triple toe loop where they do side-by-side coreography-. It was great, they are very promising. They were not as impressive as A&B, but they deserved their second place without a doubt. I think, though, that they were undermarked- at least in technical.

Technical merit

5.3

5.4

5.7

5.6

5.5

5.4

5.8

Artistic impression

5.5

5.5

5.7

5.6

5.6

5.5

5.4

Last to go were the Americans Kyoko Ina & John Zimmerman. They were wearing awful costumes (in my opinion) that had golden sparkles. Same program as last year, but the coreography has changed a lot and it is a lot better. But they didn't skate well.:-( It was surprising because they had a good warm up: Kyoko seemed relaxed and smiled all the time, and she didn't miss a thing! During the program, she fell on the side-by-side triple toe at the start. They did a triple twist, throw triple salchow. He fell on the side-by-side double axel. Then they did side-by-side double toe loop followed by another one but he did a single. Their throw triple loop came out of nowhere- no preparation. They did an amazing spiral at the end, and some interesting moves. I liked the program much more than last year. It was great to see Kyoko's charisma come out again. But technically, it wasn't good.:-(

Technical merit

5.4

5.3

5.4

5.3

5.3

5.0

5.1

Artistic impression

5.4

5.5

5.5

5.5

5.3

5.1

5.5

 


Title photo (c) J.Barry Mittan

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